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If procurement (sourcing) wants to make inroads on legal spend, it has to team with the legal group

Procurement professionals may chafe at legal budgets: huge, scattered and opaque, wide variability, ad hoc decisions on retentions of firms, abysmal metrics, and generally a deplorable lack of discipline. Other than that, what legal spends conforms perfectly to model sourcing stratagems.

But if sourcing experts step onto the field of legal spend, they have to play nicely with the lawyers. A fixation on raw numbers about matters, firms, dollars, and time and single-minded pursuit of the lowest cost per specifications do not a sensible cost program make.

I am not trying to be an apologist for general counsel, but the practice of law at the level of sophisticated corporations does not reduce to unit prices, CAGR calculations, immutable metrics, and fungible firms. Rather, to bring more fiscal discipline to legal spending, procurement staff need to marry their strengths with the professional skills and demands of lawyers. Without collaboration, purchasing’s intervention is doomed (See my post of March 1, 2008: procurement with 17 references.).